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Willem van der Poel

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Nationality  Dutch
Name  Willem der

Willem van der Poel httpsuploadwikimediaorgwikipediacommonsthu

Born  2 December 1926 (age 89) The Hague (1926-12-02)
Institutions  Delft University of Technology
Alma mater  Delft University of Technology, University of Amsterdam
Known for  Designing the ZEBRA computer
Notable awards  Computer Pioneer Award (1984)
Education  University of Amsterdam, Delft University of Technology

Notable students  Gerard J. Holzmann

Computer pioneer willem van der poel talks about the zebra

Willem Louis van der Poel (2 December 1926, The Hague) is a pioneering Dutch computer scientist, who is known for designing the ZEBRA computer.


Willem van der Poel OAPS Willem van der Poel Delft Outlook


Willem van der Poel httpsuploadwikimediaorgwikipediacommonsee

In 1950 Van der Poel obtained an engineering degree in applied science at Delft University of Technology, and in 1956 obtained his PhD degree from the University of Amsterdam. The title of his PhD thesis was The Logical Principles of Some Simple Computers.

From 1950 until 1967 he worked for the Dutch PTT, and from 1962 till 1988 was (part time) professor at Delft University of Technology. One of his PhD students was Gerard J. Holzmann. He was also the first chairman of IFIP Working Group 2.1 on ALGOL, from 1962 to 1968.

Since 1971 he is a member of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW). In 1960 he received, together with H. Mol, the Visser-Neerlandia prize for the construction of a Braille translator.


Van der Poel is primarily known as a Dutch computer pioneer, designer of Testudo, the PTERA, the ZERO, and the ZEBRA computer. He also contributed to Algol 68 and LISP for the ZEBRA. He is said to be the originator of the Zero One Infinity rule, which suggests that software designs should not impose arbitrary limits on the number of instances of a particular entity: if more than a single instance of it is to be allowed, then the collection size should be without fixed limit.


  • The Logical Principles of Some Simple Computers. Thesis, Amsterdam (1956).
  • SERA 69, definierend rapport. W.L. van der Poel (Ed.), Stichting Nederlands Studiecentrum voor Informatica (1970).
  • Een leven met computers. Afscheidsrede, TU Delft, 26 october 1988. Delft University of Technology (1988).
  • Articles

  • "A Simple Electronic Digital Computer." Applied Sci. Research (1952), p. 367-400.
  • "Micro-programming and Trickology." In: Digitale Informations-wandler, E.W. Hoffmann. Vieweg, Braunschweig (1961), p. 269-311.
  • Van der Poel, W.L., C.E. Schaap and G. van der Mey. "New Arithmetical Operators in the Theory of Combinators." Proc. Kon. Ned. Akad. v. Wetenschappen, Sept (1980) p. 271-325.
  • References

    Willem van der Poel Wikipedia